Young hockey players are expected to learn all kinds of skills and qualities that they can utilize both on and off the ice. However, one of the most important qualities- good work ethic- is also one of the hardest ones to teach. So many kids in today’s world just seem lazier and more entitled than in generations past. However, if you know a few tips for teaching this skill, you can drill it into your players in no time at all!
One of the first ways to instill good work ethic is to require players to honor the commitments they make. This means requiring them to be at every practice, no matter what and requiring them to make good on other commitments they may make, like signing up to bring the team snack or signing up to help put away equipment.
Players must learn that their word means something and that, regardless of how they might feel on a particular day, they need to honor what they’ve said they’ll do by actually doing it. This means having consequences when commitments aren’t honored. While that may seem like “tough love,” it’s worth it because it works
Stress Proper Preparation
Another way to solidify good work ethic from an early age is to teach players to prepare properly. Have a rule that they have to have all their equipment and gear with them and on by a certain time in order to participate in a practice or game. Also, on some days, let players be responsible for their own warm-ups and other necessary prep. Preparing for work is just as important as the work itself, and players need to learn this concept from a young age.
Giving players responsibility and then requiring them to live up to that responsibility and then enforcing consequences when they don’t is the basic key to building good work ethic. You may have to get tough, and you may occasionally upset some players, but at the end of the day, if they learn work ethic, then you’re doing the right thing!